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Egypt says Palestinian group behind church attack (UPDATE)

Arab World Materials 23 January 2011 16:51
The radical Palestinian group Army of Islam was behind the deadly bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt's Interior Minister Habib al-Adly said Sunday, dpa reported.
Egypt says Palestinian group behind church attack (UPDATE)

Details added (First version was published at 15:22)

The radical Palestinian group Army of Islam was behind the deadly bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt's Interior Minister Habib al-Adly said Sunday, dpa reported.

A suicide bomber detonated a nail-packed bomb outside the Two Saints Church shortly after midnight on January 1, killing 23 people and injuring up to 100.

"Members of the al-Qaeda-linked group Army of Islam hid behind elements they recruited," Al-Adli said at an event in Cairo to mark Police Day.

He said there was "conclusive evidence of their involvement in the sordid planning and implementation of this mean act of terrorism on Egyptian land, where many others died defending the Palestinian cause."

In the immediate aftermath of the church bombing, authorities in Egypt blamed "foreign hands" for the attack.

The Gaza-based Army of Islam claimed responsibility for the abduction of BBC reporter Alan Johnston in 2007. Johnston was released more than 100 days later after officials from Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, arrested several members of the group.

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